I vividly remember going to see the Disney film adaptation and falling in love with the world of Narnia and Aslan. I was supposed to read this novel in the 5th grade but due to Hurricane Katrina and Wilma I did not attend school for almost a month making it impossible for my class to devour the novel and see the film adaptation. Over the years I have always wanted to invest my time in the series and started reading the chronological order with The Magician’s Nephew which I thoroughly enjoyed but the desire faded until now thanks to the PBS: The Great American Read. I did my research and decided that I should follow the publication order.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobedeals with the Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) who have evacuated from London during World War II to escape from the Blitz. They are sent to live with an old professor and one day Lucy discovers an old wardrobe in one of the rooms and enters it. What she does not realize that the wardrobe is magical and now has transported her to the magical land of Narnia. She walks to a lamppost and befriends a faun named Mr. Tumnus who invites her to tea and with a change of heart saves her. He was supposed to trap Lucy and give her to the White Witch because Lucy is a human being who fulfills the Narnia prophecy.
Narnia has been living in harsh winter for years because the White Witch has claimed that she is the true ruler of Narnia and only the two sons of Adam and the two daughters of Eve can claim the throne and put an end for the White Witch destruction and Lucy safely returns to the Wardrobe to tell her siblings about all this revelation and they refuse to believe her. Time passes by and during a game of hide-and-seek Lucy enters the wardrobe again but this time around Edmund follows her and ends up in Narnia as well. He is in complete shock and is trying to find Lucy instead he meet the White Witch. She uses her magic to employ Edmund as a spy for her and orders him to recruit all his siblings and take them to her ice castle. Edmund is such f%$king spoiled brat and for me personally he is not a redeemable character at all especially how he deceives everyone and is a bit cruel.
Finally what makes everyone believe Lucy is when the housekeeper, Mrs. Macready is giving a tour of the house to visitors and they are trying to hide from her so they enter the wardrobe and all the Pevensie children are together at last in Narnia. They learned that Edmund had lied to Lucy and gives Lucy the permission to lead the way and decides to check up on Mr. Tumnus who unfortunately is captured by the White Witch. What is also mysterious is a bird guides the children to a talking beaver named Mr. Beaver who is messenger sent by Tumnus to protect Lucy and send the children to meet the powerful and mystical lion named Aslan. When Mr. Beaver reveals the details about what Aslan has in stored for everyone, Edmund escapes and heads to the White Witch castle where he becomes a prisoner to her cruelty. The only way to rescue him is meeting up with Aslan.
Out of all my favorite characters I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Aslan. A lion is one of the majestic and beautiful animals I have ever seen and the fact that he is a metaphor for Jesus Christ is both a powerful image and interesting concept. His conversations with the Pevensie children showcase major advice for them and he is the glue that helps put everything together. The children have weapons thanks to St. Nick and he is able to rescue Edmund. Except that the price of saving Edmund meant sacrificing himself at the stone table by the hand of the witch. Definitely got the whole Jesus crucifixion imagery and I still found myself heartbroken over it but knew like Jesus that he would be resurrected someway or somehow.
For being a novel that was written over half a century ago it still holds up today especially Lewis precision to writing and getting to the core of the story. I was never bored when reading this novel and I believe it is a great series for children and adults to discover. C. S. Lewis is not a perfect individual and there are some major flaws that I had issues with but overall it can be a teachable moment for children. I hated how Lewis was adamant in his writing to showcase his sexist views that women do not have a place in the battlefield. Lucy weapon is a small dagger and huge vial of medicine and Susan gets a bow and arrow. They never use any of their weapons except for the vial because they were too busy weeping for Aslan. I dislike how they relied on Peter to make all the decisions and dictate the roles for his siblings.
Another moment that I found annoying was how the children had forgotten about their life before Narnia as if it never existed and when they discover the lamppost again they cannot figure out why it strikes a sense of familiarity. The illustrations are fantastic and at times definitely helped providing me a visual when it comes to the creatures of Narnia and having it in color makes a huge difference. I cannot stress enough for everyone who reads The Chronicles of Narnia to pick up the Full-Color Collector’s Edition. Overall I hope the rest of the series lives up to this enchanting first novel and I cannot wait to discover more about Narnia and the Pevensie children in Prince Caspian.